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MrsJoseph: Books, Life & Wine

I’m currently on the run from the Amazon Empire. The Empire recently used it’s planet sized money to destroy devour my previous safehouse: Goodreads.

 

I read a lot. Have a bit of a tendency to review as well. So…this is mostly a book review site. Unless its not. But I’m not taking review requests.

 

Cause sometimes I’ll write about whatever I feel like, book or no.

 

Things I [currently] like:
Reading
Reviewing
Exercising
Wine

 

So, I’ll talk about that stuff. Unless I don’t.

 

That “life” part in the site title is all about flexibility, lol.

Currently reading

Mistborn: The Final Empire
Brandon Sanderson
Starting Strength, 3rd edition
Mark Rippetoe
Seduction
Amanda Quick
Progress: 25 %
Reblogged from want a real life adventure? come to Australia we have spiders bigger than your hand. :
seems like good advice right?
seems like good advice right?

Review: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz - L. Frank Baum

I used to consider myself a Wizard of Oz expert. I’ve seen the 1939 movie a ton of times. I’ve seen the musical adaption movie The Wiz about a million times (Micheal Jackson, Diana Ross, Mabel King, Nipsey Russell, Richard Pryor? YES, please). And then – just to put 10 on the 20 – I’m a theatre geek from waaaaaay back. I served as Technical Director and Lighting Designer (and I also danced in!) for the stage version of The Wiz. I used to know that script backwards and forwards. So you can’t fault me for thinking I knew my The Wizard of Oz.

 

Well, guess what? I did NOT know my Wizard of Oz!

 

I went into this read thinking I knew what was going to happen. I had the movies and the plays all circling in my head so I spent the entire read fighting with my memories and knowledge of the adapted works. The Wicked Witch that Dorothy kills is wearing silver shoes; the Good Witch that meets Dorothy upon her landing is NOT Glinda and she’s an old, weak witch about the size of the Munchkins; The Wicked Witch of the West has very little on-page time and Glinda doesn’t get page time til the very, very end. Like, Glinda didn’t even know Dorothy was in town til she came pounding on the Witch’s front gate. And those are just the initial big differences. There was just so much changed…

 

This is a relatively simple children’s book but it still follows the typical fantastical structure of the Heroic Quest. I quite like heroic quests so I think I may have enjoyed this book more than some [others who read it as an adult].

 

One of the first things I bothered me, however, was what seemed to be a bias of the narrator…who doesn’t seem to like Kansas, prairies or older women very much. After making a point in describing Kansas as uniformly grey, poor and draining, there was almost an entire paragraph dedicated to the death of Aunt Em’s faded beauty. Uncle Henry, on the other hand, is barely described at all. I think it bothered me simply because it didn’t really have anything to do with the plot. The description of Aunt Em’s beauty and age – or lack thereof – are from a time prior to the birth of Dorothy. So why bring it up?

When Aunt Em came there to live she was a young, pretty wife. The sun and wind had changed her, too. They had taken the sparkle from her eyes and left them a sober grey; they had taken the read from her cheeks and lips, and they were grey also. She was thin and gaunt, and never smiled now. When Dorothy, who was an orphan, first came to her, Aunt Em had been so startled by the child’s laughter that she would scream and press her hand upon her heart whenever Dorothy’s merry voice reached her ears; and she still looked at the little girl with wonder that she could find anything to laugh at.
- L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz, Page 2

the wizard of oz tv show description

I also was quite astounded by the sheer amount of violence that is to be found in this children’s book. Dorothy commits two murders personally (both Wicked Witches) and her friends help by killing quite a few more. During their trip(s) I counted about 125 deaths that can be directly attributed to the small group. O_O

 

Throughout the book, I kept wondering how freaking old is Dorothy??! Her age is never given and her actions hit multiple age ranges. The particular edition I own is illustrated and based on the photos I would put Dorothy somewhere between 8-12 years of age. So you can only imagine my face when the little group finally reaches the Emerald City and meet the “Great and Terrible Oz.”

“Well,” said the Head, “I will give you my answer. You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something for me in return. In this country everyone must pay for everything that he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you.”
- L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz, pages 89-90

When I read this, all I could think was What in the actual FUCK?! Did he just tell a little lost girl that she has to go murder someone – who she has not met and has not harmed her – before he would be willing to help her?! AND he knows it’s so dangerous that she could either be enslaved or killed?? WTF.

 

So Dorothy and her friends go off to commit murder. Again. They kill wolves and crows and even bees. Of course, it’s all fun and games until the flying monkeys attack. The flying monkeys seem to be the only animals the Dorothy Hit Squad can’t take out. What I found interesting is that the flying monkeys are not really bad guys (like the movie), they are actually pretty nice monkeys (all things considered). They were controlled by a special hat that forced them to follow orders.

 

Once the Dorothy Hit Squat takes out the Wicked Witch – who was not the sister of the dead witch and only wanted the silver shoes because of their power AND didn’t show up until pg 99 but was dead by page 112 – go back to the Emerald City to get their rewards from Oz.

 

Oz is shocked, of course, because he totally believed that he had sent Dorothy and her murderous friends off to their deaths. Being unprepared for how good the Dorothy Hit Squad was, Oz had no plans about what to when they returned. And once he was discovered and confronted for being a lying fraud, Oz pulls out this ying yang:

“My dear friends,” said Oz, “I pray you not to speak of these little things. Think of me, and the terrible trouble I’m in at being found out.”
- L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz, Page 135

Wait. Wait just one freaking moment. Did he just say “think of me” after he deliberately sent a freaking child off to what he thought would be her death or enslavement??! THIS is his response??! Where I’m from…that’s attempted murder! Oz has now admitted to fraud and deception AND he ordered an assassination. I can’t help but to think that Oz is a pretty bad guy…and possibly worse that the Wicked Witches. I mean, at least they were upfront and honest about their actions.

 

But anyway, the group of friends demand Oz fulfill his promises. So he gives the Scarecrow “brains,” the Tin Woodsman is given a “heart,” and the Cowardly Lion is give “courage.” Then Oz and Dorothy stitch together a hot air balloon so they can both try to float back to the States. Well, Oz floats off somewhere BUT Toto (in his usual M.O.) runs off and Dorothy gets left behind.

 

Since Dorothy gets left behind, she goes with her friends on [yet another] adventure to speak to Glinda, the Good Witch The Witch of the South. They travel through three lands which all could be edited out. This time they only kill one animal, so…progress?

 

Dorothy and her friends meet Glinda who helps them immediately. She arranges for the Scarecrow, the Lion and the Tin Woodsman to get back to their new prospective homes and tells Dorothy how to use the silver shoes to get back to Kansas.

 

I can’t help but to admit that this was a rather entertaining read. There’s a decent amount of action but I felt it…meandered quite a bit. Especially after Oz floats away without Dorothy. When I compare this classic children’s book with The Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia is a lot more focused than The Wizard of Oz. I think I prefer that focus, tbh. I wanted to be done after Oz floated away. I was more annoyed than enchanted by the third adventure.

 

I don’t know if I’ll read this again unless I have children but I’m glad I did read it. While there are all sorts of things in The Wizard of Oz that I could nitpick and pull apart (like the representation of women), it’s still a good children’s book. The story was easy to read and relatively engaging throughout.

 

 

Funny article about the 1939 movie: 5 Reasons The Greatest Movie Villain Ever is a ‘Good’ Witch

Source: http://bookslifewine.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/wizard-of-oz

[REBLOG] Just For Fun: Health Tips from Fucking Assholes

Reblogged from Karlynp & The Doggone World:

 

Attribution goes to: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/31736372348995806/

[REBLOG] Can We Agree? (Blog Read 2)

Reblogged from Gurglings of a Putrid Stream:

For our second blog read, do we have agreement on any of the following titles? (I'm cheating and adding a bunch of other ones myself, both because the last couple of days have been pretty light on activity here at BL and because I'm pretty much limited to my own collection and those of the three small libraries in my area.)

Anyone can suggest alternate titles. I've only read two (maybe three) of the books below.

Legion by William Peter Blatty
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Burning Court by John Dickson Carr
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Diva by Delacorta
Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Time and Again by Jack Finney
She by H. Rider Haggard
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson
Ape and Essence by Aldous Huxley
The First Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
This Perfect Day by Ira Levin
The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer
Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz
If You Could See Me Now by Peter Straub
The Space Vampires (or Lifeforce) by Colin Wilson
The Gentlemen's Hour by Don Winslow

If you've suggested a book and it's not in the list, it's because neither I nor my local libraries have it. (I'm the same as Bookstooge: I'll read just about anything, so it's certainly not because I've rejected it for some reason.)

Open Thread: What Makes A Black Film a Black Film?

I ran across this link/open thread from a post on Dear Author.

 

Open Thread: What Makes A Black Film a Black Film?

 

As I read this post, it really made me think.  There really is still a pretty serious racism issue happening in our entertainment.

 

[Almost] every time there is a book that has black characters as the MC, we see this book catagorized as "black fiction."  This happens across ALL genre lines.

 

Want to read a Romance book with non-white characters?  Then you have to go HUNTING for a "black romance."  Just want to read a Romance that has diversity (instead of the typical)?  You have to go looking for "interracial romances." 

 

What about Fantasy?  Guess where those books are usually shelved?  In the "Black Fiction" section.  Or maybe that should be the "African American" section?

 

What about History books?  Want to read some history books about things beside Europe and [specifically] Egypt?  That would be located in "Black Studies" in my old B&N.

 

ANd when authors do write books with a diverse cast of characters - like The Hunger Games - either the characters are whitewashed OR the producers/script writers deal with a horrible racist backlash that is quite shocking to behold.

 

I'm sure this same thing also happens to Asian Fiction and Non-Fiction.

 

--------------------- Discussed Article Below -----------------------------

 

Every so often it pays to check in on the current “Black Film” rubric– ie, What makes a Black Film a Black Film? It’s a question I found myself struggling with as I wrote about Dear White People last week and realised that I couldn’t bring myself (and director Justin Simien didn’t want his audience) to stick it in the same category of Madea’s kooky and poorly directed adventures. But why is that?

 

Like a lot of popular movies that fall into the Black Film category Dear White People has a majority black cast, a black director, and deals with subject matter meant to resonate with a Black audience. Yet even beyond being an Indie, it’s clearly a different beast than 2014′s well performing Ride Along which seems to more easily fall into the traditional Black Film category. Making comparison and thinking about other movies that also seem to fall without question into that category -let’s consider movies like The Best Man series, the Barbershop series, and romcoms in the vein of Think Like a Man or Why Did I Get Married- I started to wonder if maybe it becomes a question of quality.

To include quality on the rubric is clearly problematic, leaning towards the implication that to be placed in the Black Film means to be a bad film. But do we place 12 Years A Slave in that same Black Film category? What about The Butler? They fall under the drama genre, but so do movies like Stomp The Yard, ATL, Coach Carter, or The Inkwell; a group of enjoyable, if otherwise unnotable films, with black directors and casts found under the “Urban Drama” category on Amazon . (Urban Drama being another way of saying “a drama with Black people in it.”)

 

Does it really come down to a question of quality with, perhaps, a side of pedigree- films nominated for multiple awards in various categories? It’s a tricky qualifier. Stomp The Yard with white protagonists is called Bring It On and it’s a comedy or a teen movie, not a “white film”. Coach Carter is called Hoosiers or Miracle and again it’s not a white film, it’s a sports drama. The Inkwell becomes a drama/romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers, starring Meryl Streep, and… well, you can see the trend. There’s no real need to recategorise any of these films as “Black” or “Urban”, but for some reason we do.

 

But what if beyond the merits of the cast, director, subject matter, and relative quality, it’s a simple matter of character relateability? White viewers are conditioned with the societal requirement that it’s necessary to at least pretend to empathise with the Solomon Northups of the world. The Kenya McQueens? Not so much. With that we’re left with a qualifier almost more insulting than the question of quality. While Black audiences are expected to relate and empathize with white characters in films regularly, the moment we ask them to do the same for us suddenly it’s a Black Film. In that case, the categorization is almost left up to the white viewer alone.

 

So is it cast/director, subject matter, quality, or a question of white audiences being unable to empathise with characters who look nothing like them? What actually makes a Black Film? Thoughts?

Source: http://www.racialicious.com/2014/04/01/open-thread-what-makes-a-black-film-a-black-film

[REBLOG} Guy confesses to raping 3-year old daughter, convicted, judge awards zero jail time because guy would not fare well in prison … WTF?

Reblogged from Debbie's Spurts:

Found this link (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2014/03/31/du-pont-heir-received-no-jail-time-after-rape-conviction/ ) via a comment from another bookliker.

 

unfricking believable!

Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/reliable-source/wp/2014/03/31/du-pont-heir-received-no-jail-time-after-rape-conviction
Reblogged from Jessica (HDB):
I'd just change coffee, to tea.
I'd just change coffee, to tea.

Review: Strong Curves: A Woman’s Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body by Bret Contreras & Kellie Davis

Strong Curves: A Woman's Guide to Building a Better Butt and Body - 'Bret Contreras MS  CSCS',  'Kellie Davis'

Note: I really feel conflicted about this book/program so I’ve sat on this review for over a month.

 

I’ve been weight lifting (dumbbells, kettlebells and barbell) for a little under a year.

 

At the time I started using the program in this book, my workouts consisted of a “body split.*” On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I worked my lower body and back. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I worked my upper body.

The body split worked pretty well for me. I had very little upper body strength so I quickly became more defined in my chest and arms. But nothing was happening with the booty. *face palm* I was trying but I was clueless on how to get better. I was already deadlifting and squatting (but not very heavy).

 

Finally a friend suggested Bret Contreras (AKA The Glute Guy) and his book Strong Curves. She told me to check him out (and to add Bulgarian Split Squats to my lower body routine). I checked Brett Contreras’ website out. After reading a little I felt I found an answer to my lower body issues and I decided to try the program.

 

Formatting
I don’t recommend the ebook. The ebook format is NOT optimal for this type of reading [Strong Curves is more reference book than a straight read like a novel]. The organization of the ebook is rather atrocious. There’s no page numbers given as reference (or links) to the exercise instructions. There’s no index. There is a lot of equipment used in this program but there are no alternative exercises suggested (though the author says you should substitute exercises if necessary). The book has a lot of photos, graphs and charts…and on an ereader this means lots and lots of page turns. It also means a lot of searching as there are no page numbers listed with the exercises to help a reader find the exercise in the glossary. On Amazon reviews I saw that some readers created their own indexes with Excel.

 

I eventually purchased the hardcopy of Strong Curves. Best decision I made. The [majority of the] difficulties I had with the ebook were not present with the hardcopy. Each exercise photo has a page number that corresponds to the glossary. Each color photo of Kellie Davis performing exercises show a page number to the corresponding exercise in the glossary. The book is full color, 8 1/2″ x 11″ perfect bound. I had the same issues with alternative exercises – the authors suggests doing alternatives but never provides a suggested alternative (although there are alternatives pictured in the glossery). There’s still no index.

 

This book was NOT created to take to a gym in ebook or hardcopy format – it’s better to study at home/in private and then photocopy individual sheets if needed. To be honest, the book isn’t really good while working out at home since it’s perfect bound. I actually write out the exercises and stick it in my exercise diary for easy use and access.

 

Things I Learned

“Weak glues can cause your knees to cave in during a squat (valgus collapse), your posture to erode, or your lower back to start to ache when you go about daily activities.” — Chapter 3, page 23

Strong Curves discussed form quite a bit. Form is very important (poor form leads to injury) and the reader is constantly reminded of the importance of form throughout the book. Sadly, the authors do not give any suggested sites to peruse so the reader can see the exercise(s) in motion. This would become a problem for me, as I note later in this review.

 

Chapter 5 covers nutrition and diet. This was one of the more difficult chapters for me to absorb. Strong Curves stresses the need for a good diet comprised of whole foods but the authors go into great detail without really going into detail at all. Protein, dietary fats, and carbohydrates are all discussed – using industry terminology and very little layman language. There are convoluted equations and lots of lists provided to assist in creating a diet – it’s pretty complicated if you aren’t familiar with counting calories and macros. In order to program your own diet based upon the Strong Curves provided information – you will need to correctly calculate your macro-nutrients (after figuring out your total calories). Or you could use the really easy Fitocracy Macros app. Strong Curves recommends weekly (or at least “regular”) weigh-ins. The authors feel that this will help “keep [you] honest” regarding diet. I’m not a big fan of the scale but I did do “semi-regular” weigh-ins. I found it not to be all that helpful (but it went a long way in making me feel fat) since muscle is denser than fat.

 

Strong Curves did help me to find a lot of weak and/or unstable areas of my body. I’ve discovered my lower back probably kicks in when doing bridging activities due to weak hamstrings. I also learned about “Valgus Collapse.” Once I learned about it – I started to notice when my knees caved in more and more. (My PT suggests putting a resistance band around the lower thigh (snug but NOT tight) in order to help you notice any collapse.) I also learned that the hip thrust is not 100% possible for people with tight hip flexors – like me.

“When you plan your schedule, you will perform your strength workouts first. This ensures that you are using maximal effort with your strength programs, making your aerobic activity your secondary priority for energy demands.”
–Chapter 6, page 53

Speaking of warming up, Strong Curves covered that as well. The routine(s) given are a series of self-myofascial release (using a variety of different items) and basic stretching activities. I never did them, I prefer to warm up with low impact exercises. YMMV.

 

The Program
Strong Curves has four (4) preset programs – two full body programs with different experience/skill levels, one “at home” only program and one lower body only program. It also has instructions to make a customized program. The programs in the book are:

Strong Curves Twelve-Week Booty-ful Beginnings Program for Beginners
Strong Curves Twelve-Week Gluteal Goddess Program for Advanced Lifters
Twelve-Week Best Butt Bodyweight Program (At-Home)
Twelve-Week Gorgeous Glutes Program (lower body only)

I did the beginners program and I made it to week eleven (11) of the twelve (12) week plan. To my immense disappointment I was unable to complete the final week of the program due to injury.

“Most women can hip thrust more than they can squat and they can deadlift more than they can hip thrust.” –Chapter 8, page 74

The exercise plans are based around four week clusters (3 months total for each program) with each cluster consisting of 3 different sets of exercises. Each set of exercises are meant to be done on a different day and almost all of them are paired supersets. Supersets are “two or more different physical exercises performed back-to-back, without a period of rest between them. The exercises may employ the same muscle group, or opposing muscle groups.” While the workouts are created as paired supersets, the book suggests doing straight sets if working out in a commercial gym and [you] can’t reserve two pieces of equipment at a time.

 

Annoying Things
One of the things that annoyed me about the Strong Curves programming is the aerobic aspect of it. In that there is no aerobic component to this program. BUT the book states that optimum results would come from adding aerobic (or HIIT) exercises. Strong Curves suggests working out six days a week – 4 days lifting using the Strong Curves programming and 2 days of user defined cardio, leaving one day of rest per week. And that’s why this part annoys me. I paid for [what I thought was] a complete program. It should be complete. Don’t tell me to “do some cardio, too.” Make actual suggestions (or program it in!) to round out the program so it is complete.

 

Another issue that I consider MAJOR is the equipment used to create these programs. The sheer amount of differing equipment is overwhelming! The authors give multiple lists of equipment: The largest (and complete) list is a suggestion for the construction of a home gym. Then there are different lists: one at the beginning of each four (4) week cluster. For example, here’s a list of everything I needed to complete the Beginner’s Program (all 12 weeks):

Exercise mat
Flat bench
Dumbbells
Exercise box (may use flat bench or multiple aerobics steps if box is not available)
Cable lat pulldown machine (see Exercise Index for substitute exercises if training from home or if machine is not available)
45-degree back extension apparatus (see Exercise Index for substitute exercises if training from home or if apparatus is not available)
Seated cable row machine
Chin-up bar
Flat barbell bench
Barbell (may need plate weights and clips, too)
Table or support mechanism for bodyweight reverse hyperextensions
Swiss ball
Kettlebell
Hampton thick bar pad
Cable column
Squat rack
Band

That’s a shitton of equipment!!! For a beginner’s program! Thank goodness I have a semi-decent home gym as well as a commercial gym membership. Otherwise, I’d be more than a little discouraged. Some of the items listed I already had. Others I still don’t have. And I admit it…I only go to the commercial gym now and again. So I don’t do any of the exercises that require a cable machine of some type unless I can modify the exercise to use the resistance tubes I already own. And no, the book does NOT help with modifying exercises (as I’ve mentioned time and again). I’ve found most of my modifications doing online searches or talking to people at Fitocracy.

 

The biggest issue I’ve had was complexity. Strong Curves becomes progressively complicated and this was a problem. The book is written with one or two things assumed about the reader/user: A) that the user has been taught/already knows the proper form necessary for complicated strength moves or B) the user has access to a strength and conditioning coach who will teach the user the proper form. I think this is/could be a major turn off for some. Step-ups into reverse lunges is one of the biggest transgressions. This exercise is often referenced as one of the more difficult in discussions in the Strong Curves Fitocracy group. There are also complex barbell exercises like the Stiff Leg Barbell Good Morning. This exercise scared me somewhat – as the bar is placed behind the head before leaning forward. I decided not to load the bar with weights to be safe.

 

For me, lack of information about complicated moves has led to injury. *sigh* I’m rather upset about this, especially since Contreras hammered on the fact that any lower body injury will cause the glute muscles to shut down. The injury caused me to rethink my feelings toward the book.

 

Strong Curves was written by someone working on their PhD thesis and it reads that way. There’s a lot of complicated and technical sections to absorb and there’s a lot of information left out. I think the author assumes the user will automatically go to his website to absorb more information. The problem with this assumption is that the user has to know what to look for before she goes on a search – his site is massive.

 

Results
I forgot take before and after shots. I’ll try that next time.

 

I DO feel like I made progress. My booty is definitely stronger and rounder than previous.

 

I did not lose any weight with this program (scale wise). Over the time of the program I actually gained weight but a lot of it is muscle. The last time I was weighed at my doctor’s office I had lost 1% bodyfat. My body looks a little different. I’m smaller and/or tighter in some places and bigger in others. My arms have lost some definition from when I was doing the body splits. I also admit that I fell into the typical beginner’s trap: I started eating too much.

 

I like Strong Curves but it could use some improvements. There are things that I do and don’t like about Strong Curves but it’s still a great resource. I enjoyed the programming in this book – I’d love it even more if alternative exercises were clearly suggested and videos were referenced. I can say that I don’t feel that my money OR my time has been wasted. I do think I’ll come back to this book to continue with other one of the other programs in the future.

 

4.5 Stars – Programming Results – My bottom is certainly rounder and firmer.
2 Stars – not enough *detailed* information on the Hip Thrust, no links to videos for form checks, and no information on injuries or potential injuries.
3 Stars – complexity of the exercises and the extensive equipment list
3 Stars – book reads like someone writing their PhD thesis

 

3.125 Stars rounded up to 3.5 Stars

 

 

 

 

* A full body workout exercises the entire body with all muscles being stimulated in one workout. A split routine (body part split, training split, etc.) separates muscle groups to be worked in different workouts on different days (like doing legs on MWF and arms on T/T).

Source: http://bookslifewine.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/strong-curves

Janny Wurts AMA (ask me anything) live at r/worldbuilders NOW

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/21li1t/hi_im_janny_wurts_epic_fantasy_author_pro/

 

 

I'm pulling this off of Janny's Blog.  Janny is the author of

 

The War of Light and Shadow Series: http://booklikes.com/book/792642/the-curse-of-the-mistwraith-wars-of-light-shadow-book-1-janny-wurts

 

The Circle of Fire Series: http://booklikes.com/book/5831045/stormwarden-the-cycle-of-fire-book-1-janny-wurts

 

The Empire Trilogy: http://booklikes.com/book/390425/daughter-of-the-empire-raymond-e-feist-janny-wurts-

 

As well as many, many more books.

 

What do I like about Janny Wurts the most?  She is extremely nice, professional and she takes the time to hone her craft. She has never attacked a reviewer, she does not shill her books, she talks to readers as humans and not walking wallets.

 

Yall should check her out!

 

_______________

 

 

For Friday March 28th, I will be answering questions live at reddit r/worldbuilders, starting at noon Eastern Daylight Time.

The thread to post questions is up, join in the fun:

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/worldbuilding/comments/21li1t/hi_im_janny_wurts_epic_fantasy_author_pro/

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5994083-janny-wurts-ama-ask-me-anything-live-at-r-worldbuilders-now

[REBLOG] Putting My Money Where My Big Mouth Is!

Reblogged from Bark's Book Nonsense:
Dark Horse  - Kate Sherwood

I'll be reading this book very soon. I just bought this book brand spanking new. Yep, even though I have zillions (not kidding here) already in my TBR pile. Why? Well, I've made a decision. I am putting my money where my big mouth is and from this day forward I will only buy new books by authors I personally choose to support. Those who respect their readership. Those who go all BBA and  don't respect their readers simply will not get my money. Simple, right?  Kate Sherwood is one of the authors I choose to support at this time and THIS is why. Anyone else want to join me and help end this never ending war? Or at least help line the pockets of writers who appreciate their readers? 

 

*FEEL FREE TO REBLOG!*

 

Hero & Quest: What is a “Hero?”

In today’s popular literature, the “anti-hero” has become the new hero. Why? Many claim this is in reflection of either A) reality (i.e. that no one is a “real hero”) or B) a symptom of the uncertain times we live in.

 

But haven’t we always lived in uncertain times? I can’t think of a single era or culture that was not lamenting the greatness of the past while gnashing their teeth at what they see as the destruction of the future (I mean, did nobody expect the Spanish Inquisition? *snerk*). So why has the tide changed against the “hero” in favor of the anti-hero? I don’t know but I’m desperate to discover why. Especially since my personal taste trends towards the typical hero.

 

I’m currently listening to a class, “Hero and Quest” taught by Dr. Larry George (subtitled “Heroes and Maidens”). This is a fascinating class thus far and it’s giving me great food for thought.

 

Today’s discussion was the “Mythic Hero.”

 

From Wikipedia: The “Mythic Hero Archetype” is a set of 22 common traits shared by many heroes in various cultures, myths and religions throughout history and around the world. The concept was first developed by FitzRoy Somerset, 4th Baron Raglan (Lord Raglan) in his 1936 book, The Hero, A Study in Tradition, Myth and Drama. Raglan argued that the higher the score, the more likely the figure is mythical.

1. Mother is a royal virgin
2. Father is a king
3. Father related to mother
4. Unusual conception
5. Hero reputed to be son of god
6. Attempt to kill hero as an infant, often by father or maternal grandfather
7. Hero spirited away as a child
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country
9. No details of childhood
10. Returns or goes to future kingdom
11. Is victor over king, giant, dragon or beast
12. Marries a princess (often daughter of predecessor)
13. Becomes king
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully
15. He prescribes laws
16. Later loses favor with gods or his subjects
17. Driven from throne and city
18. Meets with mysterious death
19. Often at the top of a hill
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him [i.e., does not found a dynasty]
21. His body is not buried
22. Nonetheless has one or more holy sepulchers or tombs

Several heroes were scored based on these archetypes:
Oedipus (22)
Theseus (20)
Romulus (17)
Hercules (17)
Perseus (16)
Zeus (15)
Jason (15)
Robin Hood (13)
Apollo (11)

The greatest of these heroes – thus far – would be King Arthur. Dr. George stated that King Arthur would receive 22 or more of these points (some items he scores twice).

Looking at this great list of [traits? Actions? Activity?] – holding numerous plot options – I can’t help but wonder why we get less epic heroes like Arthur but more rapist-killers like the MC from Prince of Thorns. Especially as I watch our TV and movies slide into “All Superhero, All the time” status (but with reboots that give our shiny heroes more tarnished armor).

Source: http://bookslifewine.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/hero-quest-what-is-a-hero

When Online Reviewing Is No Longer Fun (Dear Author Post - Comments section)

Kate Sherwood says, "I’m supposed to go out of my way to protect Readers and Reviewers and make them feel that they’re in a safe zone? Wait a second. If I’m being lumped in with the poorly behaving authors, why can’t I lump all readers and reviewers in with the people who send the sales through the roof and leave all the five-star reviews for books that seem, to me, to be worthless?"

 

 

I keep reading this comment - and post, TBH - over and over again.  Wondering if it is even worth replying to.

 

Sunita made a great reply.  My favorite part of her reply was: "The issue, ironically, can be labeled with today’s buzzword: discoverability. If a reader/reviewer can’t predict your behavior, she’s going to be less willing to chance the risk, given the bad behavior that is out there all over the place. It’s not about you protecting her, it’s about you giving her information."

Source: http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/where-has-the-fun-gone

Review: Brianna (Celestial Passions #1) by Judy Mays *spoilers*

Brianna - Judy Mays

Have you ever read a Romance novel and thought to yourself, this is the most ridiculous cliched bullshit I’ve ever read? How did this get published?? I’m obviously in the wrong business…

 

Well, this is almost that book. But it’s not. Because this book is a cliched ridiculous mess on purpose (which makes it funny). This book has it all: beautiful red-haired “spitfire” heroine (with green eyes, of course); handsome and rich hero; being kidnapped by aliens for weird alien sex; princesses; cat people; assassins….

 

Well, you get the point. It’s like…everything is here. There is no way this wasn’t written tongue in cheek. How does Brianna communicate with these people from a different galaxy? They use a Medirian ghena instead of a Babel fish…but it’s the same thing and performs the same function. There are also several hints in the book that shows that Mays is writing a comedy.

“I will not panic. I will not lie here shaking and crying like some too stupid to live heroine in a bad romance novel. I can handle this. I will handle this!”
- Chapter 3, pg 37 Brianna

 

“What was he saying to her? Would he understand her like Miklan did? Why was he naked? What was she doing here? Had she been kidnapped for sex? Were all those lurid stories about alien sex in those trashy tabloids true?
- Chapter 3, page 39 Brianna

“Brianna leaned back and mused silently on her current situation. Never in her wildest dreams would she have imagined the life she now led. Even though she missed her own family, she was now the pampered daughter of a powerful and rich merchant clan on a planet across the galaxy from her own, married to and pregnant with the child of a sexy alien who absolutely adored her. She’d been adopted into the royal family of another alien culture and managed to become bloodsister to a powerful family of aliens on yet a third planet. No one was capable of imagining this, not even Hollywood’s best scriptwriters.”
- Chapter 16, pg 272

Let’s start by meeting the primary characters:

 

The Heroine
Brianna is a tall, beautiful, fiery redhead with flashing green eyes. She mistakenly gets taken aboard an alien spaceship but as soon as she’s there the evil sex-crazed alien bad guy tries to get her. She’s saved by her incredible beauty: the handsome rich captain of the ship wants her. So he keeps her in his quarters and marries her to keep her safe (and bonk her silly). She is the MarySue of all MarySues. She is beautiful, she is spunky, she is smart, she is exotic, all the men want her, all the women want to be her friend (except the bitches, all the bitches hate her). Her attitude stinks but everyone finds it adorable and charming. In fact, it makes them like her more. Her red hair is a beautiful vivid red that falls to her waist. In Drakan hair only comes in shades of brown and never gets longer than shoulder length. This is the description we get when the hero first sees Brianna: at this time she’s been wounded (by a man who once tried to rape her, of course) and is unconscious.

“A woman – a beautifully exotic woman.
Fiery read hair tumbled over the side of the table in an auburn waterfall. Pale skin, which any woman in his family would envy, glowed under harsh laboratory lights. Full breasts with rosy nipples rose and fell with harsh breathing. A narrow waist tapered to flared hips where a splash of equally fiery public hair curled at the juncture of her thighs. Long legs stretched to the end of the table.

The agonized expression on the woman’s face didn’t hide its exotic beauty. Her face was rounder than those of his people, her lips fuller. Stunning green eyes fluttered open and stared unseeing into his. Thick, dark lashes rimmed those eyes while the well-shaped auburn brows above them contrasted sharply with her wan complexion Even with blood seeping from her shoulder, she stirred him as no woman had in a long time.”
- Chapter 2

The Hero
Captain Alalakan don al’ Chardadon (Char) is a tall, handsome, rich alien captain. He is from the planet Drakan where everyone is fixated on sex all the time and they have tails. His people are comfortable with all types of nudity and sex. He decides to marry Brianna to save her from (and destroy) Bakom. His family is very powerful, extremely rich as well as the head of one of the larger clans on Drakan. The family is on a first name basis with royalty.

 

The Evil Bad Guy
Dr. Rodak don al’ Bakom (Bakom) is a medical doctor as well as an all around horrible person. Even in a world full of 60′s style sexual freedom, Bakom is a kidnapper and rapist. So, of course, he wants to keep and rape Brianna. Brianna is the Most Beautiful of all the beautifuls. He is also the First President of the Academy of Science where – for some reason – newly discovered human forms of life are required to have sex with an examination team to prove their humanity. Ha!! As head of the Academy of Science Brianna – a newly discovered humanoid lifeform – belongs to Dr. Bakom so he can perform the Tests for Humanity on her.

“…You must accept an injection of mithrin into your body. The dosage is such that you would become sexually insatiable from anywhere from four to eight hours, and most if not all of the members of the examining team would have sexual intercourse with you. Once the dosage wore off you would be subjected to a brain scan to determine intelligence quotients. Then you would be given a physical, which would include sexual intercourse without mithrin. If your responses are not satisfactory, you could be declared nonhuman.”
Chapter 2, page 46-47

The Story
Brianna is a biologist working for the military. One day her boss calls her in to assist with a dissection. Shocked that the subjects are humanoid, Brianna steals the aliens and rushes them off the base. The aliens manage to show her where to go but the military were hot on their tail. Since the soldiers chasing Brianna were willing to use deadly force, the aliens take Brianna with them. Now Brianna is the alien. Dr. Bokom steals Brianna as soon as she is transported aboard but Char rescues her. Later Char decides to marry Brianna in order to keep Dr. Bakom from performing his Tests, making her Alalakan dem al’ Brianna. Brianna quickly becomes pregnant, making Chardadon the heir of the Alalakan Clan (meaning he will be the next head of the clan after his father).

 

During the ride back to Drakan, Brianna is introduced to Princess Merilinlalissa – Meri – from the world Mediria (who are green and have gills). While chatting the princess discovers that Earth has dolphins and orca (killer whales) – also known on Mediria as the sacred dols and orcs who were lost to the Mediria eons ago. This information moves the King of Mediria to adopt Brianna into the royal family. Now Brianna is the wife of a rich and powerful man and a Princess. Alalakan dem al’ Brianna, Princess Hardan.

 

Later, on Drakan, Brianna is introduced to a rich and powerful family from a different planet named Gattan. The Gatten are a fierce, war-like race of people who resemble humanoid versions of predatory Great Cats (Big Cats). The Gatten are proud, secretive, war-like and easily offended. Normally, saying/doing the wrong thing around a Gatten would cause a blood feud. Brianna pulls one of her snotty moves and manages to become blood-sister to this family. The Gattens all appreciate and revel in Brianna’s bad attitude and worse temper. Of course, they don’t get upset at her actions at all.

 

All of these families (three rich, powerful families from three different planets) conspire to save Brianna from Bakom, making it an inter-galactic incident. They are able to expose Bakom as the horrible kidnapping rapist he really is.

 

Wow. Brianna sure gets around, doesn’t she? In every way, in almost every context, this book delivers on the cliche and it delivers hard. But its fun! Lots and lots of fun. There are only two reasons this book gets 4 stars instead of 5: Brianna’s attitude and the oh so bad sex. Brianna is annoying. She’s always snapping at people and confronting people. It’s pretty irritating. But worse that Brianna’s attitude is the sex. The entire book is focused around sex but Brianna has some of the worse sex I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading. The sex is almost cringe worthy, to be honest. But I just skip the sex scenes and go for the rest of the story. Luckily there is very little sex in this book that revolves around sex.

 

My favorite parts of this book are the Gatten. They are fierce, proud warriors who just make me grin. I feel that the Gattan steal whatever scene they appear in.

 

While I really enjoy Brianna, I can’t help but to also note issues: one [female] character is raped, one [female] character is raped and tortured. While none of this action takes place on page, it’s still a bit disturbing considering the otherwise lighthearted tone of the book. Which is another point that bothers me – this is a very lighthearted book…but the entire plot actually revolves around the threat of rape and torture.

 

 

 

 
 
 
About Judy Mays
Judy Mays is a really sweet author who wrote really fun and sexy books. She had a full time job as a teacher in a small town…until someone outed her. Somehow someone managed to connect Ms Mays pen name to her real name… and the shit hit the fan. She was reviled in the local media and suspended from her job. I already owned this series but I went and purchased a new copy of Brianna just for support. Later it was said in the comments section:

Just heard from Judy, and I passed her email on to the SB’s, but I thought I’d share here, too. It would seem the women who began this witch hunt should look for new work. it was unsuccessful and Judy’s gotten hoards of support from not just the Snyder County community, but the ROMANCE COMMUNITY!
–Dakota Cassidy

Source: http://bookslifewine.wordpress.com/2014/02/25/brianna-celestial-passions-1

For Hugh's son (Sorry if it's a repost)


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